[14th of September, 2740 AD; location unknown, Hurst, Iiayikohn]
Two men entered the dim room as they took their seats at the table near them. One man had black hair with a touch of gray and wore a light blue button up shirt and pants while the other had light blond hair that was thinning on the top and wore a beige suit. Another man stood at the end of the table, though he faced the telephone on the wall as he spoke with someone on the other end. He had short, black hair and wore gloves that felt out of place with his brown suit.
“You know full well about what happens when you go on one of your self-indulgent trips,” the man in the brown suit said. “Pull a stunt like that in public again and I’ll be sure that it’ll be your last!”
Silence followed his words as the two men watched. They then looked at each other as the man kept talking.
“It really is true,” the graying man said. “Are you sure about this, Mr. Paul?”
“If we don’t speak with Harold Mars, then how are we going to get any support?” Paul asked. “Listen, Carsen, we need all the help we can get. Our business isn’t going anywhere.”
“I know that, but is this a good idea?”
“Just follow my lead,” Paul replied.
Harold gripped the phone in his hand as the other person kept talking. “Idiot, I didn’t ask about the girl,” he said. “I asked why you went and picked a fight with that man. What exactly did you hope to gain from dueling Mr. Wilk?”
A long pause followed.
“Should we say something?” Carsen asked.
“Let’s try not to get on his bad side,” Paul said. “Whoever he’s talking to, it must be extremely important.”
“Then if it comes down to it, you know what to do, don’t you?” Harold asked. “You know your role, so play it!”
Harold slammed the receiver back onto the phone and turned around. He came into eye contact with the two gentlemen and grinned.
“And how long have you two been waiting?”
“We… we just got here, Mr. Mars, sir,” Paul answered.
“Long enough to take a seat, it seems,” Harold replied. “I don’t appreciate liars, you should know.”
“I’m sorry!” Paul exclaimed as he bowed. “Please forgive us for our stupidity!”
Harold sighed. “And that pathetic individual with you,” he said, “He’s one of your employees, I take it?”
Carsen kept a wide stare as he nodded. “Oh yes, yes, sir!”
“We came to you today because we were looking for help,” Paul said. “He and I are in need of some money for our business.”
“What is this business?” Harold asked. “Based on your answer, I might think about lending you my assistance.”
“R-Right, sir,” Paul replied. “We’re an up-and-coming transportation company and we wanted to see–”
Harold slammed his fist on the table. “What is your name?”
“Me? Well… it’s Paul, sir.”
“Can you tell me why I should support you?” Harold asked. “There’s enough transportation going around; what makes you so special?”
“I didn’t ask about your company,” Harold said. “I asked about you. Why do you think you’re so special?”
“I… I don’t think I’m that special, sir,” Paul replied. “Just a businessman trying to help his company.”
“That’s all you are, then,” Harold said, “But you’re not even good at that. You thought you could just roll into my establishment and pitch to me your wildest dream, but all you have is a tame hallucination!”
Paul tried to hold back the tears. “My apologies, sir.”
“Tell you what,” Harold replied, “I will give you something special that will help you in your journey. Hold out your hand.”
Paul did so, his hand open on the table, as Harold walked up to him. Just then, Harold reached into his pocket and pulled out a dagger. Without a second thought, Harold stabbed Paul’s hand into the table. Carsen backed up in his chair as Paul began to scream out loud.
“Will you calm down, you insolent ignoramus?” Harold asked. “If you want to deal with the crows, you’d best be prepared. That goes to you, too.”
“O-Okay!” Carsen replied.
“Consider yourselves lucky that you caught me in a good mood,” Harold said. “Now get out of here!”
Harold then pulled the knife out from Paul’s hand and wiped off the blood with a clean cloth. Carsen helped Paul up to his feet as the two men hurried out of the room. With the two men dealt with, Harold turned back to the phone on the table. There was another call he had to make and he was sure that the other person was going to be able to pick up on the other end. He wasted no time in dialing the number and waited until the other person picked up.
“Hello, it’s been quite a while, hasn’t it?” Harold asked. “How are things going, Isaac?”
[14th of September, 2740 AD; Golding Motel, Habicht, Ahnlikohn]
Just north of Helm, Johan and Pariton had reached the small town of Habicht after their encounter with Korbin. The motel was about the only thing notable in the town as Johan entered with Pariton close behind him. A small room awaited them with only a single bed and bathroom inside. Johan sat on the bed while Pariton leaned against the wall and looked out the window.
“You can sit here too if you want,” Johan said.
“I… As much as I’d like to, I think I’m fine here,” Pariton replied. “I’d like to talk to you about the mission, if that’s okay with you.”
“There’s no problem with talking to me about it,” Johan said, “We are partners, after all.”
Pariton chuckled. “I should never doubt you, Mr. Johan. Anyway, you were speaking about that woman earlier and I did some scoping out around Habicht. Seems like I’ve found out something interesting.”
“Your skills are developing into quite an asset,” Johan replied. “Then again, you always had that potential inside of you. What did you find out?”
“About five miles to the north is a campground,” Parition said. “It’s been abandoned for quite some time but from the conversation I had with the owner of the motel, it seems that someone has been going there and back lately.”
Johan rubbed his chin and closed his eyes. “A lead, then.”
“We have to check it out,” Pariton replied. “They would have to be there if someone is occupying the campground.”
“Why not go there now?” Johan asked. “Sun’s about to set soon, so we can go and sneak in.”
“A great idea,” Pariton said. “Let’s waste no time… Mr. Johan, behind you, outside the window.”
Johan turned around and caught a glimpse of a person, but they quickly ducked under and out of sight. A shrug followed as Johan turned back to Pariton.
“Suspicious,” Johan said. “Or maybe I’m just being a bit paranoid. Best not to think about it, Pekka.”
Pariton got off of the wall and stood up straight. “If anyone tries to attack, I’ll be sure to rough them up. I won’t allow you to get hurt.”
“That’s greatly appreciated, but it won’t be needed,” Johan replied. “This is a stealth mission, so we’re looking to avoid conflict.”
“Then I’ll follow your lead.”
Johan stood up. “We’ll be fine so long as we work together,” he said. “Now let’s go and find the Neu Thekohnian Order.”
They headed out of the room and out into the lot. Johan looked to both his left and right, but no one was there. Whoever was peeking through the window had already left by now, which made Johan think that they were just a passerby that happened to stumble on his conversation. He did not think much of it since he had other plans that involved infiltrating the campground at night.
“If we’re to find her, then that’s only place,” Johan said. “Shall we?”
Pariton followed after Johan as the two walked away from the motel and towards the town’s exit. They were headed to the campground by themselves, but another trailed behind them several yards away. A woman of average height hid behind the corner of the building as she watched the two walk out and decided to follow them. She had brown hair tied back in a ponytail and wore a light blue shirt and pants with a dark blue cloak. Johan and Pariton continued to walk out of town as the woman made sure to keep her distance.
“There’s no doubt about it,” she said. “If I follow them, I’ll be sure to find the person that killed my brother!”
To be continued…